My Favorite Novels of the Year
Today, I’m excited to share my favorite novels of the year. As an author, I read dozens of novels every year–some for business, and some for pleasure. I can certainly say that this year especially, it’s been an amazing year in fiction. I’ve been introduced to many great new authors and I’ve jumped headfirst into reading a new genre–fantasy/sci-fi. Many of these authors write with a young adult audience in mind. But let me tell you, these books had me on the edge of my seat and reading into the night. So good! If you’re looking for a new story to fall into or maybe some great gifts for those special people on your “nice” list, these are the books for you!
My Favorite Novels of the Year
The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin
Selling stories is a deadly business
Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories–she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.
During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down…and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers…and they’re after her too.
Amazon | Enclave Publishing | BookShop.org
Get Lindsay’s best writing advice here: The Writer’s Desk with Lindsay A. Franklin
The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson
Zara Mahoney was enjoying newlywed bliss until her life is upended by her estranged sister, Eve, and Zara must take custody of her children. Eve’s struggles lead her to Tiff Bradley, who’s determined to help despite the past hurts the relationship triggers. Can these women find the hope they-and those they love-desperately need?
This book moved me. Christina did a fantastic job! I completely related to Zara’s struggles. (Hello, the situation with DHS was completely right-on.) I also loved Tiff, an older woman trying to help those on the street, just as she hoped someone had helped her daughter who fought addiction. Again, I nodded along with Tiff’s story as she vacillated between wanting to help and worrying if she wasn’t helping at all.
Amazon | Baker Book House | BookShop.org
Get Christina’s best writing advice here: The Writer’s Desk with Christina Suzann Nelson
The Rembrandt Stone series by (David James Warren: ie Susan May Warren, David Warren, and James Rubart)
One case haunts him. One chance to fix the past. One mistake could cost him everything.
Ex-Minneapolis Police Detective Rembrandt Stone walked away from a career he loved—just the price of being sure he can come home to the wife and daughter he cherishes. But he can’t shake the deep regret over a case left behind.
When his mentor, the former Chief of Homicide dies and leaves Rembrandt with a box of cold cases and a mysterious watch, he finds himself thrust into a world he recognizes—a world from twenty years ago—the same world he’s woken from in a cold sweat a hundred times. But is it a dream, or some kind of twisted reality?
If he solves the case that plagues him, and justice is finally served, will it destroy the life he loves?
“Cast the First Stone is a mind-bender of the first order. Fast-paced, strong characters, great twists and Rembrandt Stone is a hero I predict will be grabbing readers around the throat for a long time. This is one to pick up because you won’t want to put it down.” Ted Dekker – New York Times bestselling author
Dust and Shadow by Kara Swanson
The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.
Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.
Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.
The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
Amazon | BookShop.org | Enclave Publishing
Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.
Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.
Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.
Amazon | BookShop.org | Enclave Publishing
Get to know Kara and get her best writing advice here: The Writer;s Desk with Kara Swanson
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.
Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.
Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.
The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.
From the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War and As Bright as Heaven comes a gripping novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity.
Buy The Nature of Fragile Things | Susan Meissner
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
The author of A Bridge Across the Ocean and The Last Year of the War journeys from the present day to World War II England, as two sisters are separated by the chaos of wartime…
Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden—one that will test her convictions and her heart.
1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…
Buy Secrets of a Charmed Life | Susan Meissner
If you love to hear the “story behind the story,” I know you’ll enjoy this podcast episode with Susan Messiner!
Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee
Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.
As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?
Dust by Eva Marie Everson
Can an ordinary life leave an extraordinary legacy?
In 1977, when nineteen-year-old Allison Middleton receives a proposal of marriage from Westley Houser, she eagerly accepts, having no idea the secret Westley carries—a secret that will change Allison’s life forever. But Allison rises to the challenge of raising Westley’s toddling daughter as though she were her own.
Over the course of their lifetime together, Allison, Westley, and Michelle form the strong bond of family. As Allison struggles with infertility and finding her way during a time of great change for women, others—some she knows and others whom she never meets—brush and weave against the fabric of her life, leaving her with more questions than answers.
From teen bride to grandmother, Allison’s life chronicles the ups and downs of an ordinary woman’s life to examine the value of what we all leave behind.
Amazon | Kindle | BookShop.org
Get all the best tips for writing from Eva here: The Writer’s Desk with Eva Marie Everson
This Fine Life by Eva Maria Everson
It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn’t sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father’s apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?
In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes readers on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown. Readers will experience the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.
Secrets in the Mist by Morgan L Busse
What’s lurking in the Mist is the least of their worries…
In a world where humanity lives in the sky to escape a deadly mist below, Cass’s only goal is survival. That is, until she finds a job on the airship Daedalus as a diver. Now she explores ruined cities, looking for treasure and people’s lost heirlooms until a young man hires her to find the impossible: a way to eradicate the Mist.
Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the Five Families that rule the skies. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the Mist and hopes to stop the purges used to control overpopulation. But what he finds are horrifying secrets and lethal ambition. If he continues his quest, it could mean his own death.
The Mist is rising and soon the world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning what’s left of humanity into the undead.
Amazon | BookShop.org | Enclave Publishing
Do you have a writing routine? When/Where do you write?
Definitely yes! With a pastor husband and four teens, I need a routine, or I would never write! Here’s my typical day. . .
Read all the amazing writing tips from Morgan Here: Writer’s Desk
My TOP THREE Favorite Novels of the Year
I hope you get a chance to check out these wonderful authors’ work and please let me know what you think.
What are your favorite novels from this year? Share them with me in the comments or just hit reply and give me your reccomendations!
Thanks for the book suggestions; I can’t wait to check out the ones I haven’t read!